MARK DUPLASS, BEN SHAPIRO, AND THE ANTI-TOLERANCE SEGMENT OF THE LEFT

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Actor Mark Duplass did something the other day that seemed pretty benign to me: he called conservative author and commentator Ben Shapiro a genuine person and said that while the two disagreed politically, Shapiro was worth liberals following on Twitter as a window into how conservatives think.

Granted, I rend to lean conservative on a fair amount of issues, but Duplass’s suggestion made sense to me.

You should always be willing to read and listen to those with whom you disagree politically, because otherwise, how can you understand or even attempt to deal with opposing arguments?

Rather than seeing Duplass’s comments about Shapiro that way, instead, the actor’s audience bombarded him with comments about how awful Shapiro is and how Duplass was promoting all kinds of bigotry.

Duplass apologized and completely backtracked as a result of the uproar.

But Shapiro was 100% right when he pointed out afterwards that this once again proves that the there are elements of the left that see everybody to their right as evil and not even worth existing.

As Shapiro pointed out, it was not just about him, because there is not a single conservative-minded thinker Duplass could have recommended who would not have been painted by that brush.

Of course, ultimately, this thinking is incredibly foolish on multiple levels.

First, Duplass was not endorsing Shapiro’s ideas, he was merely saying that if one wanted to get a better understanding of how a smart conservative thinks, he could follow and read Shapiro.

Second, if you refuse to even listen to those with whom you disagree, how are you ever going to accomplish anything?

Should the United States refrain from talking to — and show hostility towards - any nation with whom it has ideological differences?

Because that would be quite a long list, and require a whole lot of enemies that would be unnecessary.

The problem comes back to the fact that these people believe Shapiro is evil on a level of somebody like David Duke or Richard Spencer, and he is not.

However, if you operate believing that, this is how you isolate half the country and ensure no common ground is ever found.

If you are somebody who thinks that way and you were one of the angry people who contacted Duplass to yell at him for having committed the cardinal sin of listening to and talking with those who have different viewpoints, congratulations, your bully tactics got you what you wanted.

But they also exposed you for who you really are: the exact opposite of the open-minded, tolerant liberal you claim to be.

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